50 More Academics Talk About Religion

More than two years ago, Dr. Jonathan Pararajasingham created a short film featuring notable academics talking about religion — and often, why they don’t believe in God. He released the second part months later. (To clear up any confusion, these videos are all compilations from other sources.)

Yesterday, Pararajasingham released the third episode in the series, featuring scientists like Brian Greene, Elizabeth Loftus, Lisa Randall, and Jared Diamond:

If any clips stand out to you, please leave the timestamps and summaries in the comments!

(via Why Evolution is True)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ShoeUnited

    I hadn’t seen/heard any of these. I shall now go archive digging. Thank you, Hemant. ^_^

  • Dr Kaz

    I can relate to the opening text, “The more scientifically literate…”. I have a BS, MS, and PhD in Computer Science with a minor in Math. Yes, one can argue that computer science is not actually a science and more like an art; however, I still studied a lot of science. I actually wanted to be astrophysicist before I discovered my interest in computer programming while in high school (class of 1982). I grew up in a Christian household. I became an atheist before I graduated from high school.

    • JET

      I don’t consider myself scientifically “literate.” While getting my BA in liberal studies I avoided advanced math and science like the plague. But I’ve always had a lay person’s interest in science. It’s never been necessary for me to understand physics to appreciate the talents and discoveries of those who do. I could be fascinated by Sagan’s “Cosmos” series without having gone beyond Bio 101, and I thoroughly enjoyed Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” as a journey into the mind of a scientist while understanding perhaps (a generous) 3% of it. It’s entirely possible to understand and appreciate the scientific method without having one single degree in a scientific discipline.

      • Dr Kaz

        Agreed. Nice reply.

      • Katwise

        I agree. Thank you for stating your (and my) position so articulately.

      • Mick

        Same goes for me. Left school at age 14; worked as an itinerant fruit picker for 15 years, and as a factory hand for the next 35 years. The only science I read was the compilations of essays written by Isaac Asimov.

        Somewhere along the line I gained a layman’s understanding of the Scientific Method, Logical Fallacies, and the Theory of Probability. It was enough to ensure that I never dabbled in religion and remained an unwavering atheist for the whole of my life.

  • newavocation

    Meh, 11:30 Loftus makes a good point about indoctrination. Would have liked any of them that stated they were agnostics and not one of those awful atheists to include that they are just as agnostic about Russell’s teapot or the FSM as they were about God.

  • Katwise

    7:52 Louise Anthony ends with, “Atheists have the opportunity to practice perfect piety.”

  • GCBill

    I’m excited to hear what Elizabeth Loftus has to say. Her research into the reliability of eyewitness memory is part of the reason I’m so skeptical of religious scholars who swear by the NT accounts.

    • Pseudonym

      I’m not aware of any mainstream scholar who “swear[s] by” the NT accounts.

  • fjpor

    I am not, as others here have also commented,scientifically “literate” – even though my husband and son who, while not having gone on to education beyond high school and technical training in the military, are and I gain knowledge each an every time I listen to others who are. This piece was absolute delightful to listen to and my avid note-taking (some of which I cannot even read and will require more listening) was out of such avid interest.

    My history is that of one who at a very early age (somewhere between 8 and 11 yrs of age) began to question and pull away from all religion. But, because this was in the late 40s and early 50s, I could not talk with anyone about it and now believe that may have been the reason for my withdrawal (along with a family life less than perfect) and introspection. This continued on for years – even after I met and married a man who had been brought up in the Catholic faith but was no longer active. Between us we never really spoke of religion except on the odd occasion but this came to a head in the late 60s when for some reason which I cannot recall we went to a U U Fellowship meeting in Pensacola, FL. It was as though the burden of guilt had been lifted like a ten ton weight from my shoulders when we found that group of somewhere between 100 -150 people who were just like me – and, it turns out, also my husband. WOW!!
    I listened to this video and found myself so excited to continue to hear person after person so perfectly express what I,, so many years before, had faced only they seemed so at peace with it while I wrestled so terrifyingly with my guilt of not believing for so long. And, now at 74 years of age this series is so totally great.

    My very favorite – if one can choose that from so many that I scribbled about – was at about 30.15 when Paul Churchland, Professor of Philosophy at UC San Diego spoke about how tragic it was when one believes they have the absolute truth and what a problem that becomes because if you believe your are already infallible then you cannot learn anything more from experience and “when any creature stops learning you die.” Beautifully put and totally mind blowing for me.

    I have gone on to become much more extroverted and now have an Atheist group in a city in the VERY RED state of Florida where I mingle with retired biochemists, philosophers, mathematicians and we “everyday” people who meet to discuss any and everything for a totally enjoyable time. My son and daughter have been raised to question and both have become non-believers about which I am very pleased. I have many relatives and friends who are religious and it has not caused us any problems but they all know my position and accept it as I accept theirs. I have one member of our group who is beginning a Student Secular Alliance at our local community college because I do not want any youngster to have to go through what I did and want to be able to offer them a place to go to make them feel less isolated and able to speak freely about their doubt or outright dismissal of anything religious.

    Our future rests in the hands of those younger people who do not believe or have been brain-washed and need a soft place to fall.

    Thank you, Dr. Pararajasingham for a most entertaining and enlightening series and for making me now want to search out and read the 1st and 2nd parts of said series.

    I apologize that this is so long but I am so stoked and could just go on forever.
    Thanks Hemant, for making this available.


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